“Come and get it!” That’s all that you need to hear to know that dinner is ready. When we hear these words, they are music to our ears! They are good news. They are an invitation to come and fill our hungry stomachs – an announcement that there is good food available for us. They tell us that something wonderful is waiting for us.
That’s how God speaks to His people in the text. The passage before us is thick with imperatives, but the imperatives are not a series of dreary demands. God is not speaking to His people as a master speaks to his slaves. These imperatives are invitations to a feast! God speaks as a man might speak to his friend. He is inviting His people to a banquet as His honored guests.
God issues the invitation here because in the previous chapters He has been preparing the meal for His starving people. They are people exhausted by enemy and exile, desolation and death. As Isaiah describes it, they have received from the Lord’s hand “double” for all their sins. God previously gave His people up to robbers and spoilers because they sinned against Him. In His overflowing wrath, God hid His face from them. They are called “afflicted,” “storm-tossed,” “not comforted.”
Yet, God does not abandon His people, and He does not break His promises. The text reminds us of the covenant that God made with David. Isaiah calls it “an everlasting covenant,” and he describes it further as the “steadfast, sure love for David.” The key words here are “everlasting” and “steadfast,” for in them is the promise that even though the people might abandon God, God will not abandon them because He will not break the promise He made to David.
God makes the invitation available to all people. He says, “Come, everyone….” This invitation isn’t meant to be exclusive, it’s not meant to be reserved for the wealthiest of people. God extends His gracious invitation to everyone because He created everyone and desires that all would come to faith and be saved through the saving work of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Here in our text, Isaiah calls the people to listen to and receive God’s wonderful promise of a new covenant based on the earlier Davidic one. Part of the wonder of that covenant is that it is free. Whereas the gods of this world require a high price for what is ultimately dust and ashes, the Lord offers for free a relationship that will never end and that has universal implications. These are words of encouragement and hope. If they will, God’s people can see a face of God that is welcoming and approving. They can receive a certain word from God that does not have to do with the inescapability of destruction, but with the assurance of a bright future. What has happened to account for this? One thing only: the announcement of the work of the Servant.
All things are ready; the guests are invited; and nothing is required of them except to come. God has done the work and the guests’ only action is to receive. That is what God has done for you. He has prepared everything on your behalf. He has prepared the meal, sacrificing His Son so that you may feast upon His body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of your sins, so that you may never hunger and thirst again.
Like anything in this world, there is a cost. However, when you look at the text, Isaiah doesn’t mention a cost. He doesn’t say anything about how much you have to pay for the water, wine, or milk. Instead, he says come, “without money and without price.” What merchant would every think of selling his wares free of charge? God does! How can He do it? The reason is because someone else has paid the price.
God has paid the price for you to redeem you. The price was His Son Jesus. Listen to what Luther says about Jesus and what He has done:[Jesus,] “who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.” We see the great price that God has paid in order that you may have everlasting life. It wasn’t paid for with things of this world, but instead paid for by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
God has won for us full forgiveness and the free gift of eternal life. Why would you want to spend yourself on something that is not salvation? That is what you do when you try to make your righteousness depend on you. How do you do that, you ask? You do it by trying to find the feeling that makes it all seem right and true. You do it by following the religion-fad that everyone else is following. You do it by judging the world around you, or your part in it, by what you can see and feel, rather than by the Word of God.
Isaiah asks the question, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” The difference is what you need to hear and not what you want to hear. When you hear that preached – that is, the Gospel – that means you are getting the real thing, and not some empty imitation! And you don’t want something that tickles you ear and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy while it leads you nowhere. You want the truth, you want the Gospel.
All of this is possible according to Isaiah, “because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.” The Holy One of Israel, Jesus Christ, has come to give you life and give it to you abundantly. He gives this to you free of charge. You are invited to come and receive all that God has to offer to you through Jesus Christ “without money and without price,” for there is no amount of money that could pay for what Jesus has done for you and the only price that could pay for your salvation is a price you could not pay – the sacrifice of an innocent, Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus and His atoning sacrifice, all of this and more is yours: forgiveness, life, and salvation. In Jesus’ name, amen. Now the peace of God that passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through faith in Christ Jesus, amen.